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Setting Keyframes

Lesson 3 from: Adobe® After Effects® Creative Cloud® Starter Kit

Jeff Foster

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Lesson Info

3. Setting Keyframes

Next Lesson: Parenting Layers

Lesson Info

Setting Keyframes

I've got these two elements in here is a lot I can do with those over time so let me do that just now just in this little window I'm going to start animating this uh little character a little bit so I'm going to do it just in positions and get hit p for position all right and now how do I animate him over time if I take my little indicator and I go left and right there's nothing happening yeah I haven't really set any key frames yet so to start setting key frames I just have to click this little stopwatch right here right next to whatever element I'm doing here is a little stopwatch right next to position they hover over it it comes up and gives you a little pop up here tells you what it does if I click that notice it goes black and has a little arm on it there so I look over here in my time line and I see there's a little diamond now and still nothing's happening because I've only set a position of time right here at my frame zero I have to actually move down in time however long I wa...

nt to be so these air all it's set at five second intervals so if I want tio in large my scale here of my timeline I couldn't go down here and grab this little zoom tool pull that to the right just like any adobe product mountains means big and little hills means small so we want big time and then we've got this little bar down here which is like any window it allows you to see which you know which part of the window you want of you so I'm going to come down here so I'm only looking at a few seconds so I'll come out here to say a half of a second and I want that to just move on the screens and that grabbed the numbers pull it off the screen so I've now I've got two key frames and two positions it was that easy to do that it's on and then he's off okay it's like ok, well I want to see what that looks like well, I just hit the space key space bar and it's gonna want to keep going because he stopped there but you see, this line keeps going well, I don't want to look at all of that. I just want to see this loop back and forth well let's bring this back down. We can see everything and see this bar right here has this gray bar it has these little yellow uh handles on each end you can grab those and this sets your work area grab that and move it so I'm going to do that from the other end and bring my work area down some down just a few seconds now I can zoom back in and then I can move this just to look at the area that I'm animating. Now, this is important because I do this a lot if I get really large animations that I have a lot of layers, a lot of activity going on, I don't want to have to be trying to render preview, you know the whole thing just to see the one little element I'm doing, I want to be able to just look at what I'm working on at the moment, so this could be, you know, the first you know, a few seconds of something that's a minute long, and you just want to cut it down, break it down into small pieces, so this allows you to do that know what I do is a ramp review, and if you haven't extended keyboard, which is what I always use, I used the zero key on the dump pad, and that does what they call a ramp review, and that lets you render it, it hides all of the extra lines, and everything in it lets it loop for you. Also, if you're dealing with an animation has audio, it will lose the audio in there as well, we'll play that back another way, if you don't have the extended keyboard, you can do a control zero on your keyboard here on a laptop or a non extended keyboard. It'll do it that way to space bar. If I do that, it'll just it'll loop, but it's showing all the extra outlines in the path and everything, and sometimes you want that, especially, we're gonna have a complicated path. You want to see that something's following that will. Another way to do a preview is up here in the preview panel, and it depends on how you have your whole layout set up, but there is a preview panel here, and you can either play pause just by clicking that jump to the end, one end or the other of your animation, so it doesn't adhere to the workspace necessarily, or you can go come over here to ram, preview and that's the same as hitting the zero on your num pad, or control zero on your keyboard. So we're going to be doing that a lot today, so if you see things just starting to animate that's because you'll probably see we've got mouths pose a on here, you'll see they'll hit pad zero, and you'll know that I'm doing a ram preview, but rand previews are are really important, and speaking of ram previews, ah, one thing that's really cool is if you've got ah second hard drive on your machine or you've got got one with a thunderbolt external drive especially what I'll do is I use my mac book air and I I'll do after effects with the mac book air and people think I'm nuts, you know? And but I use a thunderbolt s s d dr on it as my cash and so you can set the cash for after effects um or premiere too in a second drive, but we don't have an external drive, we do have another internal drive I'm going to see where we're actually cashing too, so I come up here to aftereffects s and m preferences and then down here to media and disc cash and this is going to help speed things up for you a lot so I can see right now it's under our it's unknown under the same hard drive that the application is on and what you want to do is you want to send those resource is somewhere else so that they'll be able to the computer can can can work a little little easier. It'll speed things up a bit it's almost like especially if you have an ssd driving really fast throughput it's almost like having extra ram in your computer especially me doing ran previews, so I'm going tio go out here and choose another hard drive this drive here I'm just going to choose the drive and it'll right right to it so I know that's an ok one, but so I've got to create a folder there then so will just make a folder there and is going to call it cash create okay, so now I can choose that folder and it will start writing to that particular spot I'm going to do that for the database cash is well, I'm just going to go grab that so that way it writes right to that folder see, there it is cash choose and then I can I'm just going to delete the existing one don't want to copy it over, so I'm going to do the same thing here go down to that drive, go to cash there we go okay that's typically a first thing I'll do when I sit down to a machine for the first time is set that but that's really important because now the computer's not trying to write to the same hard drive um the information that you're trying to preview all your ram preview and all of that information is writing to another drive so it could be busy doing that while the application drive and the ram and everything that's that's working with us and the application you can continue to work here so we'll have faster ran previews and longer ran previews definitely as a result, especially to get more complicated things in three d, so I've created two key frames here. We've done a little ramp review so I can move this on and off. I can do the same thing with this by bringing him back on. So instead of having to necessarily, uh, just create another key frame dragging back in here, that's one way you can do is drag this back in and try to line it up instead of having to do it that way, which, you know, works fine comes on and off, on and off, I can actually copy a key frame from a previous point in time, so I'm going to just delete that key frame and keep my indicator right here where I wanted at the end, but I can go grab a key frame from earlier in time and just copy it command c control cnpc and then paste and it's going to taste it right? Where might my indicator is? So now I can have a loop it's a perfect lou it's going to come back and forth back and forth almost looks like he's mopping the floor there, so we've we've been able to animate that that element, now it looks a little bit. Clergy because it's just going boeing, boeing, boeing so what if we wanted it to be a little bit smoother? I wanted that animation to start off a little smoother and then come back in a little smoother well that's ah feature that we call easing in the industry it's an easy and just it actually is a simulates a camera move when our camera operators here are moving the jib cam or yeah like this simulated simulated he's in for us yeah with the jib so he can if he's going to ease into a spot where he stops, he doesn't just jolted he'll actually move it and then slowly come to a stop that's easing in now if you're going to take off from that spot and move over to here, then you're going to start smooth and nice and easy and that's an easy out so if you think of it that way you are making nice smooth movements nice move motion and that's we want to effect here we don't want this to bounce out and then bounce in unless that's a cartoon effect that we're looking for most the time you don't you want something look professional and and smooth so the way to do that is just right click on that little key frame that you want to move out from this in this case and we're going to come down to key frame assistant and we're going to select easy ease out. The reason is we're moving out from that position, just like with simulated with the jib cam here, we're able to move away from the part that you're starting, and so it'll be a little smoother as it comes out, so let me do it so is he takes off a little bit slower and we can make that slower to by making our animation longer. Let me grab this let's make it two seconds long and here's another fun trick if I select all these key frames, so they're all highlighted in yellow, I just hold down the option or all turkey on pc dragged that last one and pull it out and noticed that the middle one follows along, but it kind of works like an accordion here I could go back and forth so I can compress time or I can extend time that way you're not having to go in there and move all these little individual key frames to try to stretch something out that's a very, very useful feature. So now when I do a ran preview here we'll see he takes off little slower, it comes in fast, but he takes off slower it's almost looks like curling and it's for the olympics uh, ok, so if I want to smooth out the time coming in these easing the time coming in going to select this last key frame here all right click on it and whips there we go come on, keep room assistant thank you and then easy ease in ok, so now he goes off then he comes back in nice and slow it looks little little more waited a little spring here you know, it doesn't look like it's just jolting in and out in and out so it's a nice smooth transition it's against so far we're only working with these two graphic elements to create motion here if I want to do something else like have him fade out a little bit as he comes in well then I can go to my trend my, uh opacity I know it's t for teeth for transparency but its opacity so I go to my opacity hit t for to get opacity and say I want him to start off a one hundred percent but right as he comes in here I want him to fade out so I'm gonna go right about here where I still want him at one hundred percent it click the little stopwatch next to a pass ity and then I'm going to come down to the end and then I wanted to fade out so I can either click and drag that to zero or I just click to highlight it hit zero and that it's at zero opacity so now when he comes in he fades out and he blinks on so if I want him to fade up before he takes off I could do the same thing can start since I'm down at this and he's already one hundred percent will come in about the same amount of time but instead of hitting the stopwatch if I hit the stopwatch again that's going to delete my other key frames I don't want to do that but I want to add a key frame there so I do the command z and undo that over here on the left I've got this little diamond here in the middle and notice where the pop up comes up says add or remove a key frame it current time so I click that see it turns yellow and I'll see oh it's added a key frame down here in my timeline so now I've got another key frame there I want to add another one here but I'm going to change my numbers here I'm going to change that to zero so I don't need to add another key frame here because I'm changing the actual parameters of this uh trant transformed function here I'm going to click that can hit zero okay so now it's going to fade up as it takes off let's get fade out when it comes down we'll do it ran preview courses not stand very long so all right so it's a very fast animation we can slow that down a little bit with the fades so you can see the transition a little fat little more so it looks like I've got an extra frame in here somewhere so maybe have doubled up my key frames because it's a little bit of flash going on there there we go so that's that's some real basics of these key frames if they're not to be afraid of nothing to be afraid of, you can always undo everything uh that's another nice thing too with after effects you don't have to do a, um control command all of that to undo everything you just you're undoes are only limited by the number that you've allowed yourself so if we go back up to our preferences after effects preferences and we'll go to general um you can get your aa number of your undoes let's go to pass it um where did I miss that? Do they move? It used to be in the general you want it here we've got an after effect to go right here to actually I believe they were moved that in the latest version it's just limited to ram now it's no longer used to be a function you could actually change but now it's just limited by your ram great excellent thanks for thanks for helping out on that so forget that I said way we could keep on doing all day here until we until we've used up the ramp so basically it's pretty much back to your last save version I would assume it kind of goes all the way back to reverting so we don't have to worry about how many levels of undue then it's just a matter of what how much your machine is capable of doing so I can keep you in command z and keep going clear back to um where we're dealing with our positions so I was able to just undo all of that so there are a lot of lot of flexibility here a lot of room to deal with uh a lot of forgiveness room for forgiveness on this thing so ok so let me let me get out of this particular piece here and go back to illustrator for a moment and let's do something a little more interesting with this guy over the next little bit of period of time here so I can see there's a piece of his arm is is has disappeared here I've got to see why that is I think one one piece gut um hidden while I was playing around with the layers there we go so we can see that this illustration is made up of a lot of different components here and they're kind of grouped together so like this one here is hiss left arm typically when I'm labeling things to work with I go by my visual cues not particularly the characters so if it's the characters left arm but he's facing may it's going to be right for me because I'm looking at my orientation that's just my own personal preference some people may be a little more purist and go well it's his left so I'm going to label it that way you were you work the way you want to work so nbc I'm labeling something right and it's their left please understand that that's just my work flow so in something like this I want to animate aa lot of elements of this this guy here and I can see they've really done a nice job of breaking this down for me so it's ready tio teo teo animate so I really didn't have to do anything to this artwork other than reorganize it so I'm going to leave this group fine here I'm not going to change this at all but I am going to change the name of it so I'm going to call this the sign so I'm just renaming the group um but I need to pull out some of these other sub elements here uh like his the upper part of the arm and the lower part and I don't necessarily go by the correct anatomy figures I do them for my own use so for like two parts of an arm I'll call the arm appear I'll just call it the arm. This part here, the forearm I call that the forearm s o that's what I'm going to do here and I'm actually going to pull these both out of that group. Well, I gotta on group at first. There we go. I'm not a real illustrator guy. I'm kind of like ben wilmore that way I only is illustrator to pull stuff apart. I don't really do a lot in it draw a little in it, I'll make stuff, but I'm not a huge illustrator user. So for those of you out there that are power users and like he's doing a wrong he's doing it wrong, you know, I'm yeah, I probably am, but I do what I need to with this, I'm going to right click on these two graphics and I'm going to click on group that brings them out here and my layers that they're they're both separate now, so I'm going to unclip one of these substance click just this one and one thing that I learned is if I just leave them out at this level, anything that's not grouped gets all suck together into one group when you go to photo shop if I just saved this out as a photoshopped file so each element has to be grouped by itself it has two group itself so it will see it as a separate layer so I just do a command g or control g and p c and now that arm element is its own entity so I'm just going here and I can say that's going to be our arm right arm because it's my right and I'm always right no just okay so um see here I did I regrouped the same thing no here we go I've got to select this one this could be his right forearm so I'm gonna do a g and this will be right forearm and I'm sure I'll miss bell one of these somewhere during the day so um forgive me for that so this group here going tio come on get up to that going to a new group first by right clicking on it on group okay and then those two elements are highlighted here so this will be his left arm and then this one will be his left forearm okay and then I can come down to here do the same thing here grab this group you see where I'm going with this I could spend twenty twenty five minutes just done doing this so luckily we've got one that I've already managed that way let's go ahead don't save we'll just leave that one alone let's hide aftereffects get out here and then I've got one that's already grouped there we go look at that just like pulling a frosted cake right out of the oven um ok so I've already done this to this this whole document of organized them so I no longer have um all of them in another group for the whole character I've just got groups for each individual element so you know I called this the hips that's basically that lower part of his torso torso spatial basically the whole upper body just he understand my crazy naming the left by the left shin so yeah again I failed anatomy class so um so again my arms air there the head noticed that I left that with the helmet intact because I'm not animating anything on the helmet I could have done that is a separate element made the helmet fly off or something if I wanted to but I wanted to bring this in and have it all is one entity the shovel again is its own entity as well so the pile I just left it his pile so now I've got all of these elements are all in here they're all in one basic layer it's one layer but they're all different groups they've all been grew so now I can do one of two things here I could hide everything except u one element and then do what I did before I could come out here and go export and then you know save it isa png file and I could save all those in a folder side of all those elements but then I'd have to make sure I put them all together in photo shop or if I brought them all into after facts that have to make sure I organized everything so they were all in the right place um but the reason why I spent all of that time going through naming these grouping these is so that I could now export them as a photoshopped file self I come down here and go to photo shop psd now I can um I'm sure you already have that okay groups to will call this so I don't confuse it with one already have well export it again I want high resolution because I like to have that capability of scaling uhm moved this from type two art uh I want to make sure this is not checked if I have flat image check it's going to give me just a flattened a single image in it'll be horrible all that work for nothing so I've got right layers in here that just means that it's going to give me separate photo shop players everything all looks good here and I click ok it's gonna write that photoshopped file so now I can hide illustrator and I could go out here here's our foot the photoshopped fall that we just created so going to open a photo shop and there it is now notice that it's all in a folder here it's a group folder so here's all of my layer elements in here so I can hide any one of them shovel okay, so now I've got that all created um I may not want them to all be in a group because then when I bring it into aftereffects that I've got an extra layer of things to deal with, so I may uh I don't want to select all here forgot which program eyes in you could do that in, um aftereffects, but not in photo shot, so I'm going to just shift select all of my layers I'm just going to drag him up and over that folder so I can get rid of that folder altogether it's just going to add a little, well, extra layer of chaos when we bring it into after effects so on dh this too is where you might want to change the order of things if you wanted I wanted them to appear in a specific layer order say I wanted to head on top or one of the arms on top, so I kind of kind of reassemble the body that way, so I've got left direxion action the arms I'm going to bring up above, so I'm gonna go arms um forearm head those items I want to bring up above the base? I'm going to bring those all up to the top, and we go now put the head on top here, dragged that all the way up. It's just an organizational thing you've naming your you're really layers is really, really important, especially when you're going from one app to another file type on, then you bring it in to animate if you don't have names for your stuff, you're just going to get really lost and it's painful, so I like to organize things. You tend to be kind of an old once you've you've done this several times and you've run into problems because he can't find things and you're you're always searching, so they're my layers are all cool here someday go ahead and save this, and I'm going to go back over to aftereffects and now I can bring this in. And as again, when I import this, I've got a couple different options here I go to file an import and make sure I can see this. This is it here, right here. This is the file we just created. Now if I bring this in as footage, just as it is here, it's going to bring it in as either a single layer or it's going to merge all the layers, so if I just click, ok then I'm just gonna have the same thing that I had having just the illustrator fall except it will be higher, higher resolutely hide these other two guys here. Um, I won't have all my layers it's just going to be a ah a single element, just a single layer element that's just by itself, but if I again we've got undo and undo and I do and I do, I just keep on doing it, you know, just do that all day it's great case and now if I import the file and I selected hopes not that one this one here ah, and then leave it as footage say, open now it can choose actual layers, and if you are just replacing something with another element or you just I just need the head, I don't need the whole rest of it. This is a great way to go just select that one element, so when it comes in, I could bring it in and scale it so we can actually see it there's just his head ok? And it stayed in conjunction stayed in place, it didn't try to re center it or anything, it just brought it in so that's one way of bringing in each individual element something like this, I don't want to do that twenty times to get every single uh layer in there I want to bring the whole thing in, but I want everything to be layers and I want them to all be in the proper order, so I'm going to go from here from footage I'm going to go to composition now the reason why I chose composition instead of composition retained layer sizes is because I want the composition all stay intact. I want everything to stay in order exactly where it is the size it is the scale it is I wanted to all be aligned, so just go to composition I hit open and this is really cool thing if you use layer styles in photo shop or in illustrator and you don't, you know flatten emerged those into the layers themselves ahead of time you can leave them open like a drop shadow or devil or something like that and you leave this checked editable layer styles you'll be able to edit those layer styles in after effects, but another cool thing is you'll be able to animate though, so if you had a drop shadow on a layer in photo shop and you left the editable layer style in there, you can key frame those and just like the key frames for a pass ity or scale or any of that you can key frame that layer style to we're going to actually do that a little later so I'm just going to leave that I don't have layer styles in there but just is the default I leave it going so now what it did is it brought in a folder with all of these layers in the folder that's why I didn't want a folder inside a folder inside a folder I wanted to leave them uh leave it alone leave it clean but I can drag all of these in here aiken select him all and dragged them into my composition or if say, I just want to animate that graphic element as it isthe it created another composition for me so I can double click this and there's my composition already notice, though, that this is a much higher resolution than our other composition that we're working on with the original illustrator file. It came in at eight hundred by eight hundred this one because I saved it ah higher res in for the export function from illustrator to photo shop it's it's much higher so it's almost three thousand each direction, which is nice because then I could do my animation here and then I can take this animation and put it into another animation or another comp and we'll be getting into that is the morning progresses, so at this point I've got this thiss composition is all set here, you see all my my items are in the same order that I had them in photo shop if I look down here in my timeline I've got my head the arms above the forearm of the torso above the hips all of that so I can start animating this guy just by selecting each one of these and doing something with each one so if I did like if I wanted to fade on and off his head alone see it's a separate element all by itself or if I wanted to change position of it I can just move that all by itself is well but one thing that happens is if I want to rotate, rotate our for rotation I rotate it and go oh, wait a second it's not really rotating it's rotating around the middle of the frame what do I do about that? Well, this is something that very easily remedied and I like this tool they call it the pan behind tool they finally a couple of versions ago added the word anchor point tool to it because in editing you can use it to pan behind and do editing video editing feature with that and I think that's where the tool came from but it really everyone just calls it the anchor point tool sets this little guy right up here at the top right next a little movie camera it's that one right there so film out so now what we could do consume in on this and this right here in the middle is our anchor point that's where we were rotating around that by default. That's usually the center absolute center of a layer as it comes in. But we want this to rotate at a specific point on this character, so I'm going to click this and drag it up here and I want it to rotate at the base of his head like it's attached to a neck. So now lips wrong zoom zoom out of the whole thing here resumed. Weigh in here on the board instead. There we go. So now if I want to rotate his head are for rotation already on it. So now when I rotated noticed the outside boundaries move around, but his head actually pivots on that anchor point. So now aiken animate him doing that? Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Working. I'm working. Yes. So I always talk to my animations as you're doing it. Animation is a very personal and subjective process. If you've never animated before, you will talk to your animations. So even if you have no, do you you talked to him, you make sound effects and stuff, so as I go through the day today, you'll hear crazy cartoons, sounds and, um I work at home a lot, my wife's in the other room, and she'll hear me making crazy sounds and she's cracking up because I'm she's all you must be animating. Yep, yeah, there's, a there's, a slip in the fall are so what? You know what they did to these crazy things, or you just talked to him and bring him to life because that's, really what we're doing here, we're storytelling. We're bringing something to life, you know, and that's, just part of the process. I will create my own sound effects and my own dialogue or monologue here, so you can just bear with me there.

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Excellent class! Makes After Effects much less daunting to tackle and explains it in clear way. The bright purple background was distracting and annoying though.

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